National Fisherman


US - Halibut catches could be cut by 33 percent next year if proposed numbers get the nod by the International Pacific Halibut Commission next month, writes Laine Welch in Fish Factor.

That would mean a coast wide harvest of just 22.7 million pounds for fisheries in California, Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska. Alaska's share of the halibut catch would be 17.4 million pounds, down from about 25 million this year.

Unlike past years, staff scientists are not making catch limit recommendations by separate areas. Instead, they are providing "assessment and advice frameworks" to the commission that embodies the risks and benefits associated with choices for harvests in certain areas.

"We are trying to provide a link between previous years and this year using what's being called a Blue Line out of the decision table," explained Bruce Leaman, IPHC executive director after an interim meeting last week . "That is the application of our current harvest policy using the rates in each area to the results of this year's stock assessments. So that is what the Blue Line represents – but it is not a recommendation by the staff, it is just one of the choices we are putting forward for the Commission to decide on in January."

Leaman said the most significant thing that came out of this year's halibut stock assessment was the solution to a "retrospective problem" that has been plaguing the stock for the past several years.

Read the full story at the Fish Site>>

Inside the Industry

The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:

The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

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Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.

Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.

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